GM Tips, hosted by the talented veteran Game Master Satine Phoenix, is our show to help Dungeon Masters and Game Masters improve their craft and create memorable roleplaying experiences. Last week, we talked about community.
Every campaign comes to an end, and GM Tips is no different. Three seasons and fifty-four episodes later, GM Tips finally comes to a close with a retrospective episode with our two hosts, Satine Phoenix, and Matt Mercer. Take a moment, find some coffee, get cozy, and watch the season finale video below.
Knowing how to close any story is a fine art indeed, and this time I’ve got some tips on ending your campaigns myself. Even if it’s before the adventures time.
Campaign Closeout Tips
For campaigns with a planned ending and both storytellers and players commit to the end, the narrative writes itself, and all you need to do is facilitate that. Once you crest the bell curve of rising action to climax and begin the downward slope to the final boss fight, you know the end is nigh. Resist the urge to make the final climax the end of the campaign whatever you do. Plan out some adventure time to tie up any loose ends possible and then let the party say their final farewells.
If a campaign abruptly ends, however, due to an emergency, fallout, time, schedules or even a job shift, you should try to do at least one final session. Even if that session is a narrative that you type up for each character outlining their place in the world and a small epilogue for them. Giving some closure, like a chapter close, allows you to revisit the campaign at a later time when you are capable of restarting it—but also allows it to be the final end if that’s never possible.
A Session After Your Last
This one is easy! Your campaign has ended, the characters have finally hung up their equipment, and everything has already been tidied up in game 100%. Now, get everyone together the week after and have a session to chill, drink and chat about the game as players and friends. What did people like, love, or even hate? Ask about their favorite moments…. and even let them throw all their conspiracy ideas on the table.
Doing this allows everyone associated with the game to have that true closeout. If you have been running at a local game store, invite other tables to the closeout party as well! Getting a chance to hear what happened with another games campaign is a fun time to do a comparison. It’s also during this day you’ll figure out what comes next…
Starting Up A New Campaign
Just like Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time; the end of one age is the beginning of another. Now is the time to figure out where you go next and what adventures await you in the future. Don’t dive into the next thing right away, but take stock of all the game books you have on your shelves to really see what kind of story you want to run. Maybe it’s time you pass the torch to the next storyteller in your group and make a character for their game, or even take a break for a few weeks to recharge. Only after that, go blow the dust off that first edition book you have sitting around…
For Satine Phoenix here is a handy link guide of where to find her future exploits (as she says at the end of all her videos):
- Maze Arcana on Twitch TV
- @SatinePhoenix on Twitter
- The Action Heroine’s Journey – Satine’s own book on creating stories of female heroic protagonists.
- Satine’s Patreon – learn art, more GM Tips, follow progress, and talk shop with Satine.
Now for you guys, would you like to see more GM Tips? What kind of articles would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below!
Looking for More Useful GM Tips?
- Mash-up the Dread System in your tabletop RPG’s to increase tension.
- How to handle long-running and epic rpg campaigns.
- Shop the Geek & Sundry store for DM gear, like a “How Do You Want to Do This” hoodie!
Rick Heinz is the author of The Seventh Age: Dawn, and a storyteller with a focus on LARPs, Wraith: The Oblivion, Eclipse Phase, and many more. You can follow game or urban fantasy related thingies on Twitter or Facebook.